Mixed doubles, troll me, support me, blast me?

Just got done with a little frustrating mixed doubles match, a little tourney tourney. Myself, I am a tennis player, rated 4.0, competitive in 4.5 doubles yada yada, my partner a nice solid 3.5. Opponents were a solid 4.5 female and an average 4.0 guy, the guy has power strokes, power serve, the looks of a high 4.0, but not a ton of consistent shots, lots of spraying. Anyway, we only won my service games and I kind of had to abandon my doubles serve tactic which is serve down the T and come in with an 80% power get the first serve in style and win the point at the net. I had to go full maniac first serve and just get enough dominant serves in to win the games. Too pessimistic, wrong attitude, would you have taken over and won the match rambo style? Roast me!
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
So I take it your partner either could not poach off that delicious T serve or the return from the deuce side (female?) was too good.

OR, you told your partner to stay in a little box and not poach.

I am guessing you tried to take over the match and that failed as well.
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
If the other team was that much better, you were never going to win.

Maybe if you were the highest rated player on the court, you could have taken over and won it off your own racquet. But with both your opponents the same or higher level, you were going to get beat no matter how you played.
 
Just got done with a little frustrating mixed doubles match, a little tourney tourney. Myself, I am a tennis player, rated 4.0, competitive in 4.5 doubles yada yada, my partner a nice solid 3.5. Opponents were a solid 4.5 female and an average 4.0 guy, the guy has power strokes, power serve, the looks of a high 4.0, but not a ton of consistent shots, lots of spraying. Anyway, we only won my service games and I kind of had to abandon my doubles serve tactic which is serve down the T and come in with an 80% power get the first serve in style and win the point at the net. I had to go full maniac first serve and just get enough dominant serves in to win the games. Too pessimistic, wrong attitude, would you have taken over and won the match rambo style? Roast me!
Your question "would you have taken over and won the match rambo style?" doesn't make sense: a 4.0 guy doesn't have the skill to "take over" against a 4.0M/4.5F. If he did, he'd be rated 4.5.

You only mentioned 1/4 of the serve rotation [yours]. What happened when your partner served? Did they crush the return at her and overwhelm her most of the time? Come to the net and get an easy volley? In that case, I would have played 2-back, told her to lob, and relied on defense and their errors [the guy opponent sounds like the type that could go off the rails trying to hit big OHs].

Also, did you try poaching [even if the serve is a cream puff; just to keep them guessing a bit]? Different formations?

And what happened when they served? Were you making your returns? Was she? If not, could she lob instead? You would probably want to play 2-back since her lob might go short.

The lob can be a great equalizer even at this level.

Were they exploiting her weaknesses or was it that their rally ball was too much for her? If the latter, there's not much you can do. If the former, there are things you can do to try and shield her weaknesses.

In general, what I find missing from your post is how you attempted to solve the problem apart from trying to take over the match [which seems like a low probability choice].

In the end, you're a 7.5 team vs an 8.5 team; that should be a double bagel or close to it. You might be able to match up against the other guy but there's no way your 3.5 partner is going to match the 4.5 female. My suggestions above will make it a closer match but, unless they have a bad day, you're unlikely to win.
 
Good analysis, I should have tried both back, but on the other hand I wasn't getting defeated at net and am more comfortable up there so that is probably why I didn't try it, I had more influence in the match at net, both back I think it would have been easier to take me out of the points. We got really close to winning more games, but would fall just a little short. To answere your questions, let me reflect. They were good at crosscourt returns on her serve, I got a couple poaches in every now and then, but it was risky, it didn't work enough to win a service game. I needed to win every single serve return when I was returning and I just didn't put the right combination together, win my serve return points at the same time we won enough of her serve return points to cobble together a game win. There were plenty of deuces. This has been therapeutic, gracias.
 
So I take it your partner either could not poach off that delicious T serve or the return from the deuce side (female?) was too good.

OR, you told your partner to stay in a little box and not poach.

I am guessing you tried to take over the match and that failed as well.
My partner couldn't really take advantage of a return of serve to her like I am used to using that strategy and the other team,.to their credit, made her volley if I did a traditional doubles serve
 
If the other team was that much better, you were never going to win.

Maybe if you were the highest rated player on the court, you could have taken over and won it off your own racquet. But with both your opponents the same or higher level, you were going to get beat no matter how you played.
I'll put it this way, not really about my ego, I don't need validation here, i just want to reset my mind on my strategy and we were outgunned which i thank you all for helping me digest, but I was the best player on the court, however the female is 4.5 because she is the type of 4.5 woman that is super solid, never misses and can place ball where she wants, hence away from me, super high tennis IQ as well.if you know what I mean. She isn't the 4.5 female type that is a power singles player. That was the tough part, feeling that pressure to be 100% perfect when I got the ball in my racket.
 
I'll put it this way, not really about my ego, I don't need validation here, i just want to reset my mind on my strategy and we were outgunned which i thank you all for helping me digest, but I was the best player on the court, however the female is 4.5 because she is the type of 4.5 woman that is super solid, never misses and can place ball where she wants, hence away from me, super high tennis IQ as well.if you know what I mean. She isn't the 4.5 female type that is a power singles player. That was the tough part, feeling that pressure to be 100% perfect when I got the ball in my racket.
Rather than phrasing your original question as a binary "should I take over?", I'd re-phrase it into something more open-ended:

- Is my partner simpatico with my plans to shift away from "traditional" doubles [not all partners will be]?
- What are they doing that's working?
- What are we doing that's not working?
- How do I try to shield my partner from scenarios that are uncomfortable?
- How do I insert myself more into the game without it becoming a liability?
 

zaskar1

Semi-Pro
FYB

looks like you are expecting too much when you guys are a 4.0/3.5 and they are 4.5/4.0. if the female doesnt miss, why did you hit to her?
plus it sounds like you put too much pressure on yourself to not make any errors or try for too many errors.
usually in doubles you hit where you can generate the most errors or winners, remember in rec tennis errors vs winners are probably 8-10 to 1.
even at the pro level errors to winners is 3-4 to 1.
i think in doubles you have to play your game, and your partner is going to do what they are going to do.
did your opponents try to hit everything to your partner or did you just try to get everything and make too many errors?
especially if they partner wasnt your consistent doubles, partner, somethings its hard to figure out what to do

remember doubles is a team effort, and the partner is going to do what they are going to do, you have no control.

sometimes i prefer singles, where you usually dont think, you just try to get the back back away from your opponent and, make him run

z
 
Good thoughts Z man. I put too much pressure on myself post match, it didn't make me have errors or miss points, but yea this thread is kind of a mental cleanse. They targeted her every chance they could so you can imagine if the point did not involve me to start with, me not serving or returning, they smartly avoided me. Now I did extreme poach sometimes, but the balls they had hit to them not from me allowed them to really make that a risky strategy, they had time to pass me. I hit to the female.when she served and she would miss or duck when I would blast a return by her from partner's second serve, so she didn't miss in the sense that if she had a chance at a shot she wouldn't miss, but i could blast her off the court. I mean I have won many matches at 4.5 doubles, I am just rated a 4.0 (doubles is the great hiding place to keep a rating static if you can avoid state or nationals, even if you win .or than you lose at a higher level). Mentally I was pumping up my partner a lot, had relieve her stress, you know when a partner is always saying I'm sorry or I don't see those kinds of shots in the matches I normally play, my mindset if that happens is to kind of say don't worry, let's have fun, that shot was too good, etc. etc.
Yeah, this was our first time playing together, but personally I never make that a reason for a loss, it helps to play with someone a few times, but personally I don't consider it that huge of a disadvantage or I don't think about it too much, I lole figuring out a way to win with new partners, probanly why I needed to vent here to kind of balance out the disappointment i felt after the match. Appreciate the comments, this is a good mental cleanse.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Based on your description of levels, your partner was 2 levels below all the other 3 players on the court. The only way you would have a chance to be competitive then would be to protect her from having to hit many balls.

1. on your return points, have her start all the way at net. by all the way in, I mean close enough that she can reach out and touch net with her racquet. This way, you can put pressure on opposing server simply by hitting a standard cross court return and having your partner pinch the middle a little while hugging net.

2. On her return points, if she can get return points past net person, you need to be a maniac at net and make sure your partner doesn’t need to hit another shot.

3. on her serve points, crowd the middle and poach like crazy.

To win as an underdog, you need to take more risks and hope it is your lucky day.
 
Thanks to all for indulging me, with a mind refresh we got to a 3rd set loss against a 4.5 guy and 4.0 girl, the guy being more of a singles specialist. He made more unforced errors than the female 4.5 yesterday and we made it respectable. Thanks for the tips etc.

Oh, forgot, my partner played her guts put, but also revealed she was bumped up to 3.5 this year, eeek, still fun to play tennis.
 
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travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Thanks to all for indulging me, with a mind refresh we got to a 3rd set loss against a 4.5 guy and 4.0 girl, the guy being more of a singles specialist. He made more unforced errors than the female 4.5 yesterday and we made it respectable. Thanks for the tips etc.

Oh, forgot, my partner played her guts put, but also revealed she was bumped up to 3.5 this year, eeek, still fun to play tennis.
Some of my strongest 3.5 female mixed partners in 8.0 have been players with lousy ratings based on their 3.5 women’s doubles records. 8.0 mixed and 3.5 women’s doubles are two different sports requiring different skillsets. An immobile 3.5 lady with no overhead, poor defense, and lousy groundstrokes can succeed in 8.0 if she is good at reacting to balls hit hard at her when she is hugging the net in offensive position, and can keep her low bouncing pancake grip serve in play with good targeting.
 
Some of my strongest 3.5 female mixed partners in 8.0 have been players with lousy ratings based on their 3.5 women’s doubles records. 8.0 mixed and 3.5 women’s doubles are two different sports requiring different skillsets. An immobile 3.5 lady with no overhead, poor defense, and lousy groundstrokes can succeed in 8.0 if she is good at reacting to balls hit hard at her when she is hugging the net in offensive position, and can keep her low bouncing pancake grip serve in play with good targeting.
Exactly: the partner does not have to be equally good at everything. My job is to try and steer play towards what she is comfortable with and away from what she's uncomfortable with.
 

zipplock

Hall of Fame
Good analysis, I should have tried both back, but on the other hand I wasn't getting defeated at net and am more comfortable up there so that is probably why I didn't try it, I had more influence in the match at net, both back I think it would have been easier to take me out of the points. We got really close to winning more games, but would fall just a little short. To answere your questions, let me reflect. They were good at crosscourt returns on her serve, I got a couple poaches in every now and then, but it was risky, it didn't work enough to win a service game. I needed to win every single serve return when I was returning and I just didn't put the right combination together, win my serve return points at the same time we won enough of her serve return points to cobble together a game win. There were plenty of deuces. This has been therapeutic, gracias.
I've come to the conclusion that for doubles (mixed or not), when there is enough of a skill/comfort level difference, playing 2 back is the way to go. You may not get a quick point from a poach, but you're also not giving net points away either.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I've come to the conclusion that for doubles (mixed or not), when there is enough of a skill/comfort level difference, playing 2 back is the way to go. You may not get a quick point from a poach, but you're also not giving net points away either.
I’ve come to the opposite conclusion. With 2 back, I am not going to have a chance to touch the ball unless I call my partner off when my opponents hit to her corner.
 

zipplock

Hall of Fame
I’ve come to the opposite conclusion. With 2 back, I am not going to have a chance to touch the ball unless I call my partner off when my opponents hit to her corner.
I get it. I may be missing something too. I get to hit the ball when I serve and receive. After that it's tough and my has more pressure (they're either uncomfortable at the net or uncomfortable at the baseline hitting a smaller target avoiding the other net player). At least 2 back I still get the same touches, but my partner is more comfortable hitting to bigger targets, and when the other side isn't super accurate with a shot I get in on the point. It feels more like a doubles team versus 2 people playing singles on the same court. Not sure if that makes sense.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I think 2 back is the worst possible idea in 8.0 mixed .... and that is as one of those 3.5 ladies.

As the lowest rated player my contributions are negated if 2-back and my weaknesses are more easily attacked.

My contributions as I see them are thus:
Always get my first serve in, and always hit the T on deuce and body or wide on ad (setting up partner for likely poach or weaker return)
Return of serve over or past net person. Never miss. And guys, this really isn't that hard to figure out for many of us.
Be able to stay in a baseline rally for at least 2 balls ... by then my partner had best be finding a poachable ball
Be aggressive at net and finish what is in front of me or in my strike zone ... don't go for unnecessary poaches that are in partner's strike zone

At two-back now you may be asking me to be able to hang on the baseline against a 4.5 guy. That is not going to end well for me.
Yes I have more time if the return is coming from the female ... but from the male? Not so good.
I am so easily targeted..... what you are going to do to save me from his slapstick topspin forehand heading to my backhand ... leap in front of it?

At 7.0 when the 3.5F is in a more level position I can perhaps see it working a little better ...
 

zipplock

Hall of Fame
I think 2 back is the worst possible idea in 8.0 mixed .... and that is as one of those 3.5 ladies.

As the lowest rated player my contributions are negated if 2-back and my weaknesses are more easily attacked.

My contributions as I see them are thus:
Always get my first serve in, and always hit the T on deuce and body or wide on ad (setting up partner for likely poach or weaker return)
Return of serve over or past net person. Never miss. And guys, this really isn't that hard to figure out for many of us.
Be able to stay in a baseline rally for at least 2 balls ... by then my partner had best be finding a poachable ball
Be aggressive at net and finish what is in front of me or in my strike zone ... don't go for unnecessary poaches that are in partner's strike zone

At two-back now you may be asking me to be able to hang on the baseline against a 4.5 guy. That is not going to end well for me.
Yes I have more time if the return is coming from the female ... but from the male? Not so good.
I am so easily targeted..... what you are going to do to save me from his slapstick topspin forehand heading to my backhand ... leap in front of it?

At 7.0 when the 3.5F is in a more level position I can perhaps see it working a little better ...
Thanks for the insight.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I think 2 back is the worst possible idea in 8.0 mixed .... and that is as one of those 3.5 ladies.

As the lowest rated player my contributions are negated if 2-back and my weaknesses are more easily attacked.

My contributions as I see them are thus:
Always get my first serve in, and always hit the T on deuce and body or wide on ad (setting up partner for likely poach or weaker return)
Return of serve over or past net person. Never miss. And guys, this really isn't that hard to figure out for many of us.
Be able to stay in a baseline rally for at least 2 balls ... by then my partner had best be finding a poachable ball
Be aggressive at net and finish what is in front of me or in my strike zone ... don't go for unnecessary poaches that are in partner's strike zone

At two-back now you may be asking me to be able to hang on the baseline against a 4.5 guy. That is not going to end well for me.
Yes I have more time if the return is coming from the female ... but from the male? Not so good.
I am so easily targeted..... what you are going to do to save me from his slapstick topspin forehand heading to my backhand ... leap in front of it?

At 7.0 when the 3.5F is in a more level position I can perhaps see it working a little better ...
Yes. Exactly. Also, a 3.5F with aggressive mentality and decent reactions hugging the net can be just as effective as a 4.5F playing further back in the service box. As a high 4.5 guy, it usually makes most sense for me to be covering overheads on both sides in mixed anyway.
 

zipplock

Hall of Fame
Yes. Exactly. Also, a 3.5F with aggressive mentality and decent reactions hugging the net can be just as effective as a 4.5F playing further back in the service box. As a high 4.5 guy, it usually makes most sense for me to be covering overheads on both sides in mixed anyway.
So what do you do when the partner is not aggressive?
 

JW10S

Hall of Fame
By experience I'm a firm believer in the old adage that in mixed doubles the team with the stronger female player usually wins. I won several Open prize money tournaments with my sister (actually we never lost) and most of time it was because my sister was better than the opposing female rather than I was better than the opposing male, with a few exceptions. While she did not dominate the match she was able to return the male's serve well enough so as not to hang me out at net and while she did not have a strong serve she was able to place it so I could move at net and assert myself.

If you play with a weaker female in mixed instead of taking the easy way out and blaming her for the loss you need to be creative. I remember playing in a charity Pro/Am event where the organizer said to me before the event, 'I've got good news and bad news for you. The good news is your partner is the reigning Miss Universe, the bad news is she's only been playing tennis for 6 months'. When I served or returned I positioned her close to the net so all she had to do was put strings on the ball to make the volley. Her forehand was her stronger side so when she served we played Aussie formation to the ad court so after her serve she'd have a forehand rather than a backhand. I had her lob her returns of serve most of the time, but not all the time-that was key. We didn't win but finished the event in the middle of the pack and considering she was the weakest female by far that was a win. You have work with what you have and not make excuses.
 
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travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
By experience I'm a firm believer in the old adage that in mixed doubles the team with the stronger female player usually wins. I won several Open prize money tournaments with my sister (actually we never lost) and most of time it was because my sister was better than the opposing female rather than I was better than the opposing male, with a very few exceptions. While she did not dominate the match she was able to return the male's serve well enough so as not to hang me out at net and while she did not have a strong serve she was able to place it so I could move at net and assert myself.

If you play with a weaker female in mixed instead of taking the easy way out and blaming her for the loss you need to be creative. I remember playing in a charity Pro/Am event where the organizer said to me before the event, 'I've got good news and bad news for you. The good news is your partner is the reigning Miss Universe, the bad news is she's only been playing tennis for 6 months'. When I served or returned I positioned her close to the net so all she had to do was put strings on the ball to make the volley. Her forehand was her stronger side so when she served we played Aussie formation to the ad court so after her serve she'd have a forehand rather than a backhand. I had her lob her returns of serve most of the time, but not all the time-that was key. We didn't win but finished the event in the middle of the pack and considering she was the weakest female by far that was a win. You have work with what you have and not make excuses.
I think you are a better mixed doubles player than you give yourself credit for. Statistics conclusively show that the team with the strongest player on the court usually wins. For example, in 8.0 mixed, a 4.5M/3.5F team beats a 4.0/4.0 team 62% of the time, only losing 38% of the time.
 

JW10S

Hall of Fame
I think you are a better mixed doubles player than you give yourself credit for. Statistics conclusively show that the team with the strongest player on the court usually wins. For example, in 8.0 mixed, a 4.5M/3.5F team beats a 4.0/4.0 team 62% of the time, only losing 38% of the time.
I believe the NTRP ratings go up exponentially. That is the difference between a 4.5 and a 4.0 is greater than then the difference between a 4.0 and 3.5, which is greater than than the difference between a 3.5 and 3.0, and so on. I still believe that in mixed it's the female that makes the biggest difference. Those 4.0/4.0 teams don't know how to play mixed doubles if your stats are true.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I believe the NTRP ratings go up exponentially. That is the difference between a 4.5 and a 4.0 is greater than then the difference between a 4.0 and 3.5, which is greater than than the difference between a 3.5 and 3.0, and so on. I still believe that in mixed it's the female that makes the biggest difference. Those 4.0/4.0 teams don't know how to play mixed doubles if your stats are true.
The strongest-link-wins stats are true at all levels of NTRP mixed. 5.0/4.0 has advantage against 4.5/4.5, and 4.0/3.0 has advantage against 3.5/3.5.

The advantage peaks at the 8.0 level.

The reason for the advantage is that it’s easy for an unbalanced team to protect the weaker player and force the other team to play against the stronger player, allowing the strongest player on the court to dominate. You gave a classic example of this yourself, where you placed your Miss Universe mixed partner on top of the net. In 8.0 mixed, the best teams use the same strategy with the 3.5F on top of the net.

I played many years of 8.0 mixed as a 4.5, and won at nearly 80% clip. Most of the time against 4.0/4.0 teams, it doesn’t feel quite fair (it’s not), even though my partner is always the weakest player on the court.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Some of my strongest 3.5 female mixed partners in 8.0 have been players with lousy ratings based on their 3.5 women’s doubles records. 8.0 mixed and 3.5 women’s doubles are two different sports requiring different skillsets. An immobile 3.5 lady with no overhead, poor defense, and lousy groundstrokes can succeed in 8.0 if she is good at reacting to balls hit hard at her when she is hugging the net in offensive position, and can keep her low bouncing pancake grip serve in play with good targeting.
Mmm, I dunno.

The women I see succeed in mixed bring two things to the match: groundstrokes good enough to sustain a rally, and a respectable but consistent serve.

Being able to volley is pretty useless for the 3.5 lady in mixed. The reason is that the man is not supposed to be hitting balls that can easily be slammed at her. And the volley Skills that serve me in ladies play (e.g. transition volleys) don’t work in mixed. All she has to do is stand on top of the net and play whackamole.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Mmm, I dunno.

The women I see succeed in mixed bring two things to the match: groundstrokes good enough to sustain a rally, and a respectable but consistent serve.

Being able to volley is pretty useless for the 3.5 lady in mixed. The reason is that the man is not supposed to be hitting balls that can easily be slammed at her. And the volley Skills that serve me in ladies play (e.g. transition volleys) don’t work in mixed. All she has to do is stand on top of the net and play whackamole.
As someone who played a decade of 8.0 seasons, I strongly disagree. Being able to volley from an offensive position on top of the net is the number one skill I need in a 3.5 partner. It allows me to hold serve easily, and it allows me to win my return points easily. That’s 50% of the points. Anything else is gravy.
 

socallefty

Professional
If both of the male players are somewhat close in level (let say within 0.25 NTRP), then I think the team with the weaker female player will lose most of the time. However, if the male players have almost a full 0.5 level difference, then I think I would bet on the team with the stronger male player.

I believe @travlerajm is a high 4.5 according to his posts and so, there is probably a full 0.5 level difference with most 4.0 males he plays in 8.0 doubles. So, he probably never gets broken, wins most of his return points and if his female partner wins 1 or 2 of her return points in any game, they probably break serve. Even if his 3.5 female partner gets broken a lot, they probably have a chance to break in every game against the 4.0/4.0 combo while their opponents probably never break his 4.5 serve. Another thing that happens is that the 4.0 male in many cases relishes the rare chance to play against a 4.5 male and rallies too much with him to his detriment instead of directing as many shots as possible against the weaker 3.5 player - there are some ego issues that crop up in mixed doubles.

This is similar to men‘s doubles too where if three players are somewhat close in level, then the fourth guy who is weaker is likely to lose the match for his team. Conversely, if three guys are close in level and the fourth guy is much stronger (4.5 playing with 4.0s), his team is going to win more often than not irrespective of whoever he partners with.
 
By experience I'm a firm believer in the old adage that in mixed doubles the team with the stronger female player usually wins. I won several Open prize money tournaments with my sister (actually we never lost) and most of time it was because my sister was better than the opposing female rather than I was better than the opposing male, with a few exceptions. While she did not dominate the match she was able to return the male's serve well enough so as not to hang me out at net and while she did not have a strong serve she was able to place it so I could move at net and assert myself.

If you play with a weaker female in mixed instead of taking the easy way out and blaming her for the loss you need to be creative. I remember playing in a charity Pro/Am event where the organizer said to me before the event, 'I've got good news and bad news for you. The good news is your partner is the reigning Miss Universe, the bad news is she's only been playing tennis for 6 months'. When I served or returned I positioned her close to the net so all she had to do was put strings on the ball to make the volley. Her forehand was her stronger side so when she served we played Aussie formation to the ad court so after her serve she'd have a forehand rather than a backhand. I had her lob her returns of serve most of the time, but not all the time-that was key. We didn't win but finished the event in the middle of the pack and considering she was the weakest female by far that was a win. You have work with what you have and not make excuses.
That's a very cool story, but I'm going to say from the way you describe it, seems like you had the opportunity to place your partner in places based on her ability to actually hit the balls coming to her back. I think my mental cleanse could equally be called and excuse or an explanation as evidenced by my two match reports.
 
If both of the male players are somewhat close in level (let say within 0.25 NTRP), then I think the team with the weaker female player will lose most of the time. However, if the male players have almost a full 0.5 level difference, then I think I would bet on the team with the stronger male player.

I believe @travlerajm is a high 4.5 according to his posts and so, there is probably a full 0.5 level difference with most 4.0 males he plays in 8.0 doubles. So, he probably never gets broken, wins most of his return points and if his female partner wins 1 or 2 of her return points in any game, they probably break serve. Even if his 3.5 female partner gets broken a lot, they probably have a chance to break in every game against the 4.0/4.0 combo while their opponents probably never break his 4.5 serve. Another thing that happens is that the 4.0 male in many cases relishes the rare chance to play against a 4.5 male and rallies too much with him to his detriment instead of directing as many shots as possible against the weaker 3.5 player - there are some ego issues that crop up in mixed doubles.

This is similar to men‘s doubles too where if three players are somewhat close in level, then the fourth guy who is weaker is likely to lose the match for his team. Conversely, if three guys are close in level and the fourth guy is much stronger (4.5 playing with 4.0s), his team is going to win more often than not irrespective of whoever he partners with.
That's a solid analysis, my serve is 4.5 level for sure and that's what happened in the second match, I pow pow powered all my service games. First match the issue was the 4.5 lady though, luckily the second match was a true 4.0 lady woohoo! Anyway, a fun game I play in mixed is to throw in a really unimpressive slow second serve to the guy because like you said the 4.0 usually likes to rally with me and 90% of the time they will try and destroy me as I charge the net. 2 things work in my favor, macho-man mindset can result in a full swing from near the service line which means the guy is going to hit the ball out or I'm able to handle it anyway at the net for a put away. I can count on that male ego thing to make sure I get the return. It's really strange, if I was returning I would just hit to the lady, not kill her, but make her miss or hit a high backhand volley etc. etc. something like this.

I would also say the strongest player on the court team doesn't always win if the partner is a recent 3.5 bump up real 3.0.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
That's a solid analysis, my serve is 4.5 level for sure and that's what happened in the second match, I pow pow powered all my service games. First match the issue was the 4.5 lady though, luckily the second match was a true 4.0 lady woohoo! Anyway, a fun game I play in mixed is to throw in a really unimpressive slow second serve to the guy because like you said the 4.0 usually likes to rally with me and 90% of the time they will try and destroy me as I charge the net. 2 things work in my favor, macho-man mindset can result in a full swing from near the service line which means the guy is going to hit the ball out or I'm able to handle it anyway at the net for a put away. I can count on that male ego thing to make sure I get the return. It's really strange, if I was returning I would just hit to the lady, not kill her, but make her miss or hit a high backhand volley etc. etc. something like this.

I would also say the strongest player on the court team doesn't always win if the partner is a recent 3.5 bump up real 3.0.
The really slow serve to the guy ... sometimes causes the most amusing errors. Into the net ... line drive to the fence ... much fun. Works once ... not usually twice, definitely not a 3rd time.

If the partner is super low 3.5 but can lob at will .... different story.
 

chatt_town

Hall of Fame
Just got done with a little frustrating mixed doubles match, a little tourney tourney. Myself, I am a tennis player, rated 4.0, competitive in 4.5 doubles yada yada, my partner a nice solid 3.5. Opponents were a solid 4.5 female and an average 4.0 guy, the guy has power strokes, power serve, the looks of a high 4.0, but not a ton of consistent shots, lots of spraying. Anyway, we only won my service games and I kind of had to abandon my doubles serve tactic which is serve down the T and come in with an 80% power get the first serve in style and win the point at the net. I had to go full maniac first serve and just get enough dominant serves in to win the games. Too pessimistic, wrong attitude, would you have taken over and won the match rambo style? Roast me!
No,

because if you intend on keep playing with this lady, she's never going to learn to actually play until she loses a few matches because she can't volley or put away an overhead that she should be putting away. I see it too many times...
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
I believe @travlerajm is a high 4.5 according to his posts and so, there is probably a full 0.5 level difference with most 4.0 males he plays in 8.0 doubles. So, he probably never gets broken, wins most of his return points and if his female partner wins 1 or 2 of her return points in any game, they probably break serve. Even if his 3.5 female partner gets broken a lot, they probably have a chance to break in every game against the 4.0/4.0 combo while their opponents probably never break his 4.5 serve.
This. I am a middle of the road 4.5, but when I play mixed with a 3.5, especially against a 4.0/4.0 pair, my expectations are:
  1. I have to hold my serve.
  2. If my partner can return the 4.0 women's serve and we can eke out one point on her return, we should break as I should be in control of the points on my returns.
  3. If I return well, we should have a shot at breaking the 4.0 man, especially if my partner can get one quality return and we steal a point on her return.
  4. We are at a disadvantage on my partner's serve, but I must be active at net to give us the best chance of holding.
Does it always go to plan? Of course not, I don't always return well and if I don't hit spots with my serve and they direct returns at my partner who is off, I may be broken. But the above is the blueprint to winning as a 4.5M/3.5W pair.

And yes, I looked at all USTA League Mixed matches from 2017 or 2018 and the results show that pairs with uneven ratings with the man rated higher win more against even rating pairs more often than vice-versa.
 
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